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  • Writer's pictureHannah Foster-Middleton

A Positive Approach to Pain

We all experience pain at some time in our lives, whether it’s a scraped knee as a child or a torn ligament as an adult or any of the myriad accidents or illnesses that might happen to us in life. That’s the bad news. The good news is we don’t have to suffer unnecessarily and there is a whole slew of treatments available. As a physiotherapist this is my job.

Any pain is a signal that something is wrong. Your brain is sending you a message calling you to action. No sudden onset of acute pain should be ignored and you should seek help right away for a diagnosis. Likewise chronic pain, meaning lasting for a longer period of days or weeks, should not be ignored either. Even though tolerance for pain varies from person to person and the ache that you find intolerable might be barely noticeable to another, doesn’t make the complaint from either any the less valid. You might be surprised to learn that the origin of your pain has many components. It isn’t just that you twisted you ankle or cut your hand. It’s partly genetic, partly a result of any of your previous experiences of pain; and it has emotional and psychological elements as well; how you have dealt with pain in the past and what your tolerance level is. When the brain sends the message it encompasses all of these aspects and this will be reflected in your reaction.

It is also useful to remember that even when your condition has responded well to therapy, sometimes the memory of pain is still embedded in your brain. As I said in my previous column anything negative or positive creates a neural pathway in the brain and that is why I noted that we take an holistic approach with all our treatments to ensure that the physical, emotional, psychological and cognitive elements that contribute to your pain response are also taken into consideration and treated. This is especially important when treating long-standing chronic pain as very often after the physical condition has been eliminated, the patient may still experience pain as the brain is still firing the same message and it takes patience and continued work to correct this.

As a Physiotherapist my job is to make an accurate assessment of the exact nature of your complaint by listening to your story and by examining you physically. The origins of pain aren’t always as obvious or simple as they might appear to be and it is important for me to have all the facts so that I can pin-point the precise cause of your discomfort. When I have diagnosed your particular issue I sit down with you and discuss the various treatment options that I think will alleviate your distress. At Genesis, we take the treatment of pain very seriously and give our best efforts to having you safely pain free at the earliest possible opportunity. We have a wide variety of therapies we use but it is essential that you, the patient, play your part by doing what is asked of you when you are at home. All the equipment in the world can’t help you without your understanding of the role you play in conjunction with me and the recommended treatments. Our therapies include Compression; Dry Needling; Cupping; Manual Therapy; Myofascial Release; Vibration Therapy; Polychromatic Light Therapy; Corrective Exercise and Postural Re-education.

Depending on the diagnosis, some conditions will respond to treatment very quickly and pain will be diminished or alleviated in a relatively short time frame. Other conditions may call for more prolonged therapy but in all cases some relief can be gained from the first few treatments. My goal as a Physiotherapist is to have you pain free and mobile as quickly and safely as possible but recovery times and progress are highly individual and my goal is to give you back your mobility and keep you pain free for the long term. Focus and patience on your part will assist in the healing process. We are partners in this and together we can achieve a positive result.

For questions and comments, call Hannah Foster-Middleton at Genesis Physiotherapy: 356-4806; e-mail or visit

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